"It’s the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, 1999. Protests are planned against the global trade deals. The police are getting ready to protect the delegates who need to get to their meetings from the hotel, but the protestors are going to do anything they can to prevent that from happening so they can shut the meeting down. The story is told through three protestors – a wizened pro, a young firebrand, and a kid on a global journey to find himself. On the other side are the cops – a loner with a short fuse, an empathetic officer who lived through the Rodney King riots, and a chief who is caught between his community policing ideals and his convictions to protect the delegates and the city from chaos. There’s also one diplomat, a Sri Lankan who gets caught in the fray. And did I mention that the chief and the kid are estranged father and stepson? Sunil Yapa gracefully captures the struggle between conviction and order, and how grand plans can easily go awry. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist could easily run didactic, but the author offers a few twists to keep you surprised and enough heart and nuance to create a powerfully rewarding story."— Daniel Goldin
January 2016 Indie Next List
“Yapa's debut novel is a raw orchestra of voices needing to be heard. Bringing to life the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, all those present are both dedicated and at a loss: the organizers and protesters, the police and their chief, the delegates and politicians, and the young unintended participant who is searching for meaning, purpose, and hope amid the brutality. From the personal to the political, within a single fraught day the whole world is blown wide open. Yapa has captured the chaos -- and the beauty -- with both fierceness and heart.”
— Melinda Powers (E), Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
A Finalist for the PEN/ Faulkner Award
n Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Washington Post Notable Book
A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
One of Bustle's "Most Important Books of 2016"
Named Most Anticipated Book of the Year in Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, TIME, Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, BuzzFeed, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, Ploughshares, Bustle, TheMillions, BookRiot, The Oregonian, The San Diego Union-Tribune, River City Reading, Indigo
Grief-stricken after his mother's death and three years of wandering the world, Victor is longing for a family and a sense of purpose. He believes he's found both when he returns home to Seattle only to be swept up in a massive protest. With young, biracial Victor o one side of the barricades and his estranged father--the white chief of police--on the opposite, the day descends into chaos, capturing in its confusion the activists, police, bystanders, and citizens from all around the world who'd arrived that day brimming with hope. By the day's end, they have all committed acts they never thought possible.
As heartbreaking as it is pulse-pounding, Yapa's virtuosic debut asks profound questions about the power of empathy in our hyper-connected modern world, and the limits of compassion, all while exploring how far we must go for family, for justice, and for love.
About the Author
Sunil Yapa holds a bachelor's degree in economic geography from Penn State University and an MFA from Hunter College. The biracial son of a Sri Lankan father and mother from Montana, Yapa has lived around the world, including time in Greece, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, China, and India, as well as London, Montreal, and New York City.